Upcoming events

    • November 11, 2021
    • 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    • 1802 Hays St, The Presidio, San Francisco. The entrance to the Presidio is off Lake St. and 14th Ave. The building is the one with the large smokestack.
    • 4

    To register, pay online via  the black "REGISTER" button, or click here to send a check. 

    PBKNCA requires full vaccination and masks to attend. See our Policy for Attendee safety at PBKNCA events.


    The Arion Press (and M+H Typefoundry) in San Francisco is so designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is a must-see for anyone interested in the history , and current manufacture of artisanal books.

    The Arion Press is the foremost publisher of “The most beautiful limited-edition, hand-printed books in the world. It carries on a grand legacy of san Francisco printers and bookmakers.” - New York Times.

    M+H Type is the oldest and largest typefoundry in the country and one of the few remaining manufacturers of type in the world.

    The staff are highly skilled practitioners of typecasting, letter press printing, and book binding, whom we will see at their work.

    The Arion Press ( and M+H Typefoundry ) is a living, working museum.

    Paid street parking available as well as a lot at the corner of 15th and 16th avenues.

    See Arion Press website for information as well as things to do in the Presidio prior to the tour. Arion Press

    Consider dinner close by in the Richmond District after the tour to miss the evening commute. Reservations recommended.

    For Reservations electronically, use the Register button above. or click for Old-fashioned coupon/check by snail

    • January 15, 2022
    • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Locke Boarding House Museum, 13916 Main Street
    • 26

    To register, pay online via  the black "REGISTER" button, or click here to send a check. 

    PBKNCA requires full vaccination and masks to attend. See our Policy for Attendee safety at PBKNCA events

    Located about 30 miles south of Sacramento adjacent to the town of Walnut Grove, Locke is the legacy of the efforts made by the Chinese in developing agriculture in California. In 1970 the entire town was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by the Sacramento County Historical Society.

    Established in 1915, Locke is the last remaining rural Chinatown in America. During its heyday from the 1920’s to the 1940’s Locke was an autonomous island of Chinese culture with a permanent population of about 600, including many families, and seasonal farm laborers of about 1000.

    Locke town

    At one time Locke had four restaurants, a half dozen markets, dry goods stores, five brothels, a post office, two slaughter houses, a flour mill, canneries, shipping wharves , an opera, speakeasies during Prohibition, and five gambling houses.

    The drive to Locke is along levee roads next to scenic delta sloughs, agricultural activities and through small delta towns. 

    The world of the Delta is a throw-back in time, and is as interesting as the tour itself.  

    This is an opportunity to understand an important bit of history of the Chinese experience in California.  

    Event:  Tour the historic Delta town of  Locke and winery visit.

    Date:    Jan 15, 2022

    time:     Tour starts 11:00 AM ends 12:30 PM

    Meet:    At the Locke Boarding House Museum located at 13916 Main Street,

          the building right next to the Locke entrance

          Drive down to Locke Road from the highway and park at the parking lot. 

                  Locke is a 1.5-2 hour drive from the Bay Area, depending.


    Cost:      $20 ($15 for scholarships) for tour alone

                   $30 to include wine tasting afterward. 

    Size:       Minimum 10, maximum 30

    Cut-off date: Jan 8th.

    The Grand Island Vineyards is a 10-15 minute drive from Locke. It provides a 6 course wine tasting and also provides a place for a picnic lunch after the tour ends. You may bring your own lunch if you want more than the snacks available to buy at the winery.  

    The address of the Grand Isle Vineyard is:
              12484 CA-160
               Walnut Grove, CA

    Drive back to Walnut Grove and cross over to Highway 160.  Turn right at the end of the bridge to get to CA-160


    Rain cancels.

    • February 18, 2022
    • 4:00 PM
    • February 21, 2022
    • 12:00 PM
    • Asilomar

    To register, pay online via  the black "REGISTER" button, or click here to send a check. 

    PBKNCA requires full vaccination and masks to attend. See our Policy for Attendee safety at PBKNCA events. Asilomar, like other venues, may also require it in order to stay at the site.

    "Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response." Arthur M. Schlesinger

    35th Annual Asilomar Conference - February 18 – 21, 2022

    If the isolation and upheavals of the past year are getting you down, take heart – it’s once again time to reserve your weekend of learning, inspiration and fellowship on the magnificent Monterey coast! After an extended hiatus, PBKNCA is delighted to announce that plans for Asilomar 2022 are finally in the works.

    This year we'll explore both the scientific and technical advances that have transformed our social landscape, and the cultural responses that varied people have brought to frame and understand these often-confusing times. Past participants describe the weekend as a “the best aspects of college, without the exams” and “the greatest high of the year – without drugs!”

    Friday night  Speaker and title, ​To Be Announced

    Saturday morning – Naomi Baron (PBK Brandeis), Linguistics, American University: Reading in Print vs Digital: A Reality Check 

    Digital reading exploded around 2010, with prognosticators promising an eclipse of print. For several years, sales of eBooks showed triple-digit growth, but then they declined (with an uptick, of necessity, during the pandemic). In schools and colleges, progressive replacement of print with digital materials has been driven by cost and convenience – arguments capitalized upon by profit-driven publishers.

    Does reading medium actually matter? A substantial body of research confirms that on straight-up comparisons of reading comprehension, print has the advantage. (We’ll get into the nuances.) But at least as importantly, students report – when we bother asking – that they concentrate and learn better with print.

    In this talk, Dr. Baron will share research on each medium’s pros and cons, including new studies on how extended distant learning during the pandemic shaped student perceptions.

    Naomi S. Baron is Professor Emerita of Linguistics at American University in Washington, DC. She is a former Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Fellow, and Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. For more than thirty years she has studied the effects of technology on language, including the ways we speak, read, write, and think. Her earlier books include Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World (2008) and Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (2015). Her newest book is How We Read Now: Strategic Choices for Print, Screen, and Audio (2021).

    Saturday afternoon – Jerome Cranston, Dean of Education, University of Regina: ​ Dismantling Systemic Racism in and through Education

    In this lecture, Dr. Cranston will address how the current period of racial reckoning calls those involved in educating children and youth – from K-12 through university studies – to confront ways that our education systems support and reify the systemic racism in our social institutions. Using a transdisciplinary approach, Dr. Cranston peels back the overt and covert ways that colonial ideologies, structures, and institutions have created and maintained racial injustice in education and beyond. Through race-conscious approaches, he explores educational inequities as well as solutions that lead to greater justice for those to whom it has been denied. 

    Jerome Cranston's maternal grandparents originated from tribal communities in what are now Nepal and Burma/Myanmar and they were anglicized and evangelized as part of the imperialist, colonial contagion. His paternal grandfather who was of Scottish descent was a travelling book-keeper with the East Indian Rail Company and was killed in 1941 during a Japanese bombing of Chittagong railway station in what is now Bangladesh. His paternal grandmother became a widow with five children. In 1942 she would die of malnutrition; an outcome of the British manufactured famine in West Bengal. He accepts a distant yet unvarying connection to the trauma that echoes through their and his colonized histories.

    Dr. Cranston holds a Ph.D. (University of Manitoba), M.Ed. (University of Lethbridge), B.Ed. After-Degree and B.Sc. (University of Alberta). His career began with 16 years in the K-12 education system as a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools in Canada’s “prairie” provinces. He spent ten years as a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba during which he served on the Advisory Committee for Centre for Human Rights Research. Currently, he is a Professor and the Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, which is located on Treaty 4 territory and on the traditional homeland of the Métis. He serves on the University of Regina’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee, and Santa Clara University’s (California) Global Advisory Committee focused on climate crisis awareness and action.

    Saturday night – Judy Bicknell (PBK U. Oregon) and Neil Bicknell, Filmmakers: Poetry, Power and the Artist’s Influence in Society

    JFK: The Last Speech, the documentary, the companion book and the website, were created with the conviction that the messages and civic values of President Kennedy and Robert Frost speak to us today. Those messages and those values can point a way for actions we can take to move us beyond our debilitating polarized politics to a "more hopeful, civilized and peaceful American future."

    In honoring Robert Frost on that idyllic fall day in 1963, the President honored the arts and artists and those who speak truth to power. He challenged those who receive a great education to recognize their responsibility to sustain our democratic system, a responsibility that rises above that of others. His words that day remind us of the beauty, insight and expression of universal feelings in Frost's poetry and remind us of the qualities of a leader, who can inspire a nation to do great things and who can "stand up to bullies abroad..."

    This presentation and the ensuing film is a call to action to rebuild our civic sphere – infused with "broad sympathy, understanding and compassion." 

    Neil Bicknell is executive producer of JFK: The Last Speech and co-editor of the companion book of the same name and was a senior at Amherst when JFK came to campus. He received his MBA in finance from Columbia University then served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. His professional career was as a strategic planner and financial analyst with IBM and on Wall Street, prior to founding and managing, with Judy, their own investment banking firm. Neil's civic activities in Scarsdale, New York include village trustee, chairman of the largest civic organization, founder and chairman of an effort to build a community center, and board member for the New York State League of Women Voters.

    Judy Bicknell is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Oregon Honors College and holds a masters in computer science from Purdue University. She began her professional career as a programmer with the IBM Corporation and ended as an investment banker working with Neil for twenty years. She served on village, school and community boards in Scarsdale and joined Neil in doing background research for two documentaries concerning our dysfunctional politics, which included a year in residence at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. She joined Neil in organizing a series of democracy seminars in New York, Washington, Boulder and Amherst and in founding a non-profit in support of the democracy work of the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Hedrick Smith. Judy is designer and author of the website, www.jfkthelastspeech.org.

    Sunday morning – Bruce Cain (PBK Bowdoin), Political Science, Stanford: California’s Extreme Weather Challenge: A Battle on Two Fronts

    Extreme weather is battering California in multiple ways. Decades ago, climate scientists predicted that heat, drought, flooding, wildfires and sea level rise would become more extreme, but California is still not well prepared to deal with these problems. Decarbonization and extreme weather adaption are political as well as technical problems. Climate change denial is the obvious challenge at the moment, but NIMBYism, localism, governmental fracture, and the like also play a role. What can we do to be more effective in meeting the climate change challenge?

    Bruce E. Cain is a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. He received a BA from Bowdoin College (1970), a B.Phil. from Oxford University (1972) as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University (1976). Before joining Stanford, he taught at Caltech (1976-89) and UC Berkeley (1989-2012), where he also served as Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies, and of the U.C. Washington Center.

    Cain was elected the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and UC Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000). His expertise includes political regulation, applied democratic theory, representation and state politics. Some of Professor Cain’s most recent publications include “Malleable Constitutions: Reflections on State Constitutional Design,” (2009); “Redistricting Commissions: A Better Political Buffer?” in The Yale Law Journal, (2012); and Democracy More or Less. He is currently working on problems of environmental governance.

    Sunday afternoon – 

    Zeke Hausfather (PBK Grinnell, Climate Science, Berkeley / Director of Climate and Energy, The Breakthrough Institute (title, TBA)

    Sunday night – Kristin Kusanovich, Theater and Dance, Santa Clara: The Interdisciplinary tUrn: A New Invitational Model for Climate Crisis Awareness & Action in Higher Education

    The climate crisis – including environmental racism, ecological collapse, and runaway global warming, with their implications for all living beings – is upon us. So are political upheavals and social injustices of every sort. And the pace of events, their severity, their aggregate power to disrupt and take lives and livelihoods away is breathtaking.

    Most people know this, and say they care. But of those, fewer than half are taking decisive action. Many educated people, including those with resources, energy and skills to spare, still do not create the time or space to discuss the climate crisis with those with whom they work, live, teach or lead – let alone get involved in influencing the outcome of our future history. This talk explores how an intercultural, interdisciplinary and intergenerational project is expanding connections locally and internationally, helping to ensure that no one graduates in 2022 without adequate preparation to take their own leadership role.

    Kristin Kusanovich, Lecturer in Theater and Dance at Santa Clara University, brings a background in performing arts to her work as the imaginer (and manager) of tUrn, a weekly series of events focused on climate awareness and action (https://www.scu.edu/turn/). For the semi-annual tUrn weeks, she coordinates 30 different talks/panels/ workshops that offer varied, cross-disciplinary pathways to understanding the climate crisis and moving toward a meaningful choreography of our shared futures. Her additional research interests – in child studies, ethics, leadership, mathematics, transdisciplinary research and spirituality – have developed a skill set that appears quite helpful in bridging scientific findings with successful communication of these findings to broad audiences – that is, “expressive interdisciplinarity” with a practical focus.

    Though most people would not call tUrn a dance, Kristin considers it one of the most complex choreographed works into which she has poured her mind, heart and self; she hopes to see the model scaled up across all of higher education, and beyond.

    Monday morning: Jonathan Lear (PBK UMass/Amherst), 2021 recipient of a PBKNCA graduate scholarship award (video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NHkm_WsT24), Ph.D. Candidate in History: Japan, West Germany, and the Global Atomic Age

    The Atomic Age typically evokes a certain set of images, events, and ideas: for instance, the mushroom cloud, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and deterrence theory. When the "peaceful uses" of atomic energy are brought into the discussion, we often view the early promises of nuclear power with a healthy dose of skepticism and sometimes simply as cold war propaganda. My talk shifts the focus of the Atomic Age to Japan and West Germany, two countries that shared recent experiences of fascism, total war, and catastrophic defeat. I will discuss how a range of historical actors– among them engineers, journalists, scientists, and managers– used the promise of the peaceful atom to repurpose their personal and professional lives and to conceive their nations anew after decades of social and political crisis. By focusing on how Japanese and West German elites conceptualized their commercial nuclear projects, we might come to a more global understanding of the Atomic Age that goes beyond the usual focus on the United States and the Soviet Union.

    Jonathan Andrew Lear is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is broadly interested in global history and the history of science, with a comparative focus on East Asia and Europe. He is currently finishing a dissertation on the parallel histories of Japan and West Germany’s commercial atomic energy programs. Previously, Jonathan earned an M.A. in the social sciences at the University of Chicago and a B.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2021, he received a PBKNCA graduate scholarship.

    If you have questions on this year’s plans, please contact dfrontczak@scu.edu. For logistics matters, please contact Barry Haskell at bghaskell@comcast.net.

    For Reservations electronically, use the Register button above. or click for Old-fashioned coupon/check by snail. All registered participants will receive forms to reserve their Asilomar accommodations, including meals, during the month of October; please watch your email for more details. (Remember, to be part of the PBKNCA package, do not reserve directly with the facility; specifics of the group rate, including all meals, will follow.)

    We can't wait to see you again for a weekend of discovery and celebration.

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